FIVB Men's World Olympic Qualification Tournament 2012 | Japan

Press release

Japan earn first win with close encounter against Venezuela

Tatsuya Fukuzawa of Japan spikes against Venezuela's triple block

Tokyo, June 2, 2012 – Japan survived a tough encounter with Venezuela to win 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 32-30) on the second day of action in the FIVB Men’s Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday. 

Japan is now 1-1, while Venezuela dropped their second straight game.

Tatsuya Fukuzawa was the top scorer with 21 points, while Kervin Pinerua led Venezuela with 19.

Japan outblocked Venezuela 5-4 and outserved them 6-3. Venezuela committed 31 errors to Japan’s 17.

Venezuela coach Roberto Garcia had seen enough after just three points as Japan streaked into a 3-0 lead on the back of two unreturnable serves by Tatsuya Fukuzawa and a great block by Kota Yamamura on Luis Arias. Garcia hauled his players off court, but Japan were looking confident, and more errors by the South Americans saw Japan 8-4 ahead at the first technical timeout. Venezuela improved in the second phase, but Japan stayed hot and maintained their four-point lead to the second TTO, with Fukuzawa sending down some blistering spikes. Japan went off the boil after the TTO and coach Tatsuya Ueta called a timeout at 16-15. Then it was Venezuela’s turn to go flat and Japan moved into a five-point lead at 20-15. After slipping to 21-18, Yuta Yoneyama came up with a stunning spike down the left after a slick set from Daisuke Usami. Yoneyama followed up with a fabulous block on Pinerua to give Japan a 23-18 lead. Two errors by Pinerua – a wide spike and a long serve – then put Japan 1-0 up. 

Venezuela took the lead for the first time in the match at 4-3 in the second set with an ace by Pinerua, but Japan countered with good defence and excellent spikes by Fukuzawa and Yoneyama. Two wayward shots by Fernando Gonzalez helped give Japan a three-point lead at the first TTO and when the score reached 11-7, Garcia called a timeout. But Japan were aided by more Venezuelan errors as they moved into a five-point lead at the second TTO. Usami continued to set up good chances for his attackers, particularly Fukuzawa and Yoneyama, and they kept the pressure on their opponents. A brilliant dig by Takeshi Nagano set up a point for Fukuzawa that brought the score to 23-17. Fukuzawa brought setpoint with another sharp shot at 24-19 and Luis Arias put Japan 2-0 up two points later when he sent a service into the net.

Takahiro Yamamoto pumped up the crowd with two big smashes and a service ace at the start of the third set, but Japan’s main help on the way to an 8-5 lead at the first TTO came from Venezuela’s four errors. Pinerua then brought his team back into the game with three bombs and a big block on Yamamoto. Ueta called a timeout with his side trailing 12-11, but Venezuela were buzzing and a terrific block by Carlos Paez on Fukuzawa saw the South Americans two points ahead at the second TTO. But a spike by Yamamoto and a sizzling serve by Fukuzawa brought the teams level at 16. Japan edged ahead by two points; Venezuela pulled level. And again – 23-23. A Fukuzawa bomb earns matchpoint, but a spike from Emerson Rodriguez saves it before Pinerua earns setpoint for Venezuela. Fukuzawa again – 25-25. Fukuzawa serves and ace for matchpoint again. Pinerua responds. Yoneyama earns two matchpoints with massive hits from the left, but to no avail. Fukuzawa does the same but Japan can’t seal the victory. Fukuzawa earns another matchpoint at 31-30 and the crowd goes wild as Pinerua sends a spike wide to end the match. 

After two rest days, Japan will next meet Korea on Tuesday, while Venezuela will face Puerto Rico.

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